In a new sign of his progress in the fiercest race for the Ballon d'Or 2021, Lionel Messi topped a poll conducted by the Spanish newspaper "MARCA" for the most likely stars in the award given annually to the best player in the world.

Although Messi left the Spanish League and Barcelona and moved to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, 34% of Marca's readers chose him to win the seventh Ballon d'Or in his history, moving away from the closest he was crowned after Cristiano Ronaldo (5 times).

Real Madrid's top scorer Karim Benzema ranked second in the poll with 26% of the vote, followed by Bayern Munich's top scorer Robert Lewandowski (11%).

Despite reaching 34 years old, Messi is still at his best in 2021, scoring 40 goals and 14 assists in 48 matches with Barcelona, ​​Paris Saint-Germain and the Argentina national team.

He also won the King's Cup with Barcelona, ​​before leading Argentina to crown the Copa America, the first tournament he won with the first team.

Messi has great support for winning the Ballon d'Or, even from some of his rivals, most notably the Italian Jorginho, who recently admitted that he believes that Messi deserves to win it.

Jorginho said in a recent interview: "If I win the Ballon d'Or instead of Messi, it will be a scandal, he should always win it."

Messi, along with Jorginho, Benzema and Lewandowski, in addition to Cristiano Ronaldo, are the most prominent candidates for winning the Ballon d'Or, which will be announced on November 29 at a ceremony in the French capital, Paris.